Deal With It, You Will Feel Better . . .

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it. ~Olin Miller

Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible. ~George Claude Lorimer

** Click here for more quotes and the words to the “Procrastinators Creed”.
All of these quotes (and many, many more) are insightful and obviously based on experience. They basically say … “Deal with it and you will feel better.” These are words of wisdom I know in my heart and my head, but in some situations I still drag my feet. I can be a procrastinator at times, putting off unpleasant little tasks until I have to take care of them. It is a common habit of most people. For example, putting off doing the dishes .. before too long, you run out of spoons, space in the sink or you need the pan at the bottom of the pile and you are then forced to clean them. Procrastinating work (be it … washing dishes, shoveling, writing a paper for school – in my case correcting those papers, taxes, etc..) can turn it into a seemingly big job, maybe even mountainous. The amount of avoided physical work is usually the same whether we would have done it in smaller batches or one big chore a week later, it is the procrastination that magnifies our perception of the size of the job at hand.

Even chronic procrastinators know that when they finally get the work done, there is a sense of accomplishment .. a rewarding feeling that makes them feel better inside. So, why do we procrastinate these physical tasks? The reasons vary a lot depending on the person and what they are avoiding. Some people procrastinate because they expect perfection, because they are too busy, because there is something more fun to do, or frankly, because it works for them … there has not yet been a horrible negative consequence for them, for putting off until tomorrow what they should be doing today. Daily chores, unfinished projects, icky jobs, and things we find boring or don’t find any enjoyment in are the types of things most people procrastinate about. There usually is very little harm caused by putting these tasks off until the very last-minute. However, that is only one type of procrastination.

The second type of procrastination has to do with more important and personal aspects of our lives that definitely have more harmful consequences. For example, when we procrastinated about: apologizing, dealing with a health issue, saying “I Love You”, resolving a conflict with a loved one, work related frustrations, addictions, unhealthy relationships, forgiving someone, starting a new job or business, settling a debt, learning new skills, etc…. Obviously, these issues deal with our personal relationships with ourselves and/or the people in our lives … and maybe that is what makes them so difficult. This type of procrastination, experts say, can also be associated with past anger, guilt or hurt and usually centers around our fears, too. Pick your fear … fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being alone, fear of attachment, fear of losing autonomy, fear of physical pain, fear of being emotionally hurt, fear of the unknown consequences, fear of hurting someone else, etc … they can all cause someone to procrastinate a difficult life event.
“Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.” ~ Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby
Unlike the physical tasks we procrastinate about, many of these personal situations are easy to put off for extremely long periods of time because, there is not an immediate or sometimes even visible negative consequence. Instead, the consequences build up inside of us over time … slowly devouring us until something major happens that forces us deal with it. And, unfortunately, if it takes a major crisis to get us to deal with these personal issues, it often turns out to be too late to get a pleasant result. From experience, I know that it is when I allow my fears to plant my procrastinating feet in concrete that I get into the most trouble. When fears and stubbornness interfere and prevent me from doing what I know is the right thing to do. Over time, it builds inside and life tends to get pretty heavily burdened. What started as manageable grows to an internal struggle of overwhelming proportions. I have also found that the longer the event is avoided, the harder it is to take that first step to face it.

When your procrastination leaves you feeling discouraged and overburdened maybe even helpless, you know it is past time to take action. Avoiding these personal issues, putting off dealing with them for months or years can literally ruin our quality of life. And, the yet to be known consequences of procrastinating, can be devastating. We can not predict the future, we can not guarantee that we will ever have another chance to change or fix one of these personal situations (opportunities disappear, people die, abilities diminish, we could die) … and the regret that comes with putting off that “last chance” is what will hurt us the most in the end.
To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing. ~Eva Young

The last week of December is that time of year where we tend to look back at the year and our lives. The tradition of committing to “New Years Resolution” is looming. Procrastinators may put off selecting one until February or maybe even just be totally “bah hum bug” about the practice.

What I would like to suggest is for everyone to look at their life and choose a personal issue that they have been avoiding and yet internally struggling with for a year or probably more. Something that has grown into what feels like an impossible task, yet haunts you in a negative way because it is something down deep that you really want to do, something you know you need to do. Choose the personal issue that is preventing you from living the life you want and take a step forward to deal with it. I am personally challenging myself to deal with at least two things from that list above this year, because I have realized that the internal conflicts I have about them are taking too much away from my life.

As a gift of life to yourself, whatever it is that is eating you away inside … Deal with it … you will feel so much better! Your quality of life will be greatly improved .. trust me. To the most chronic procrastinators out there reading this, I am pretty sure that ….
A year from now you may wish you had started today. ~Karen Lamb

Why do we procrastinate? Here are a few links to material that examines procrastination from different angles:

Watch an interesting Video on Procrastination
Good and Bad Procrastination
Self-deception to justify procrastination?

If you want further advice about deciding on your resolutions this year, there are two brand new posts up I would like to recommend:

(very wise) Emma at Graceful Balance
Freshly Pressed – The Simple Mom

~ by bearyweather on December 30, 2010.

9 Responses to “Deal With It, You Will Feel Better . . .”

  1. Thank you for this post, Bearyweather. It is exactly what I needed to read today.

    I’ve been dealing with the way I procrastinate when it comes to chores by following “the five minute rule” which, simply, states that if it takes 5 minutes or less to do it, don’t put it off. Make like Nike and just do it.

    Now it’s time to take on the challenge of dealing with one or two personal issues that I know I will feel better about if I apply myself to doing what needs to be done.

    • I never heard of the 5 minute rule. Sounds like a good one, prevents all those little things from becoming a big irritation with they build up.
      Those personal issues are really the tough ones for me.
      I am glad that you could relate to my procrastination thoughts and found something useful in them.
      Happy New Year!

  2. As a horrible procrastinator, I feel like you are speaking to me today. I usually find that most things I put off are not nealry as bad in dealing with as I had anticipated.

    • Isn’t it great when you find just the right words in a post at just the right time? I am glad that I could repay you with this post … I have felt like many of your posts were written just for me.
      The worry over dealing with things we put off adds to the procrastination and make it hard to take that first step … even knowing it probably won’t be as bad as I imagine, that first step is still very hard for me sometimes.
      I hope you have a great 2011 and I look forward to “just the right words” popping up when I need them.

  3. […] recently wrote about procrastination in a post titled Deal With It, You Will Feel Better.  She included a lot of great quotes, thought-provoking ideas and suggestions, and some good links […]

  4. Firstly, Wishing you a Happy New Year! 🙂
    I read your post at the correct time. I was just procrastinating my studies out of laziness. Exams coming up and I’m on browsing facebook. 😉 A good blog post. 🙂

    • Thanks. You are not alone … I procrastinated my school work all during my Christmas vacation. I was correcting into the wee hours of Sunday night to be ready for Monday.
      But, I made it.
      Happy New Year to you to!

  5. What a truly fabulous post and thanks so very much for including me in it! Procrastination is a toughie. I heard once it is so hard to stop because many people get a rush from it. Here’s to finding our rushes in healthier, more fulfilling ways and not giving procrastination any of our power and energy this year. 🙂

    • That is a great observation … I agree, in some situations procrastination really does have the same characteristics of addiction. It is not until we procrastinate something that really hurts us that would probably even notice that.

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